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Headaches Caused By Brain and Skull Abnormality

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 13 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Headaches Migraines Abnormality Brain

Headaches can be a painful and debilitating consequence of head injury. Not only is there the physical pain to cope with but also emotionally and mentally, the sufferer can become quite exhausted and drained.

There are many different types of trauma that can leave a person with brain and skull abnormalities. For instance, trauma may occur from an accident or you may be the victim of crime. It would logically seem to be the case that the more severe the trauma, the more severe the headaches and long-term disability, but this is not necessarily the case.

Despite multiple cuts, fractures and other injuries that may be present, recovery may still be comfortable and short, without headache difficulties. On the other hand, many people with fairly mild head injuries can still be plagued by persistent headaches for years afterwards. These headaches occurring after injury are called post-traumatic headaches (PTH) and are a problem for many people who have suffered a head injury.

How Do Head Injuries and Abnormalities Cause Headaches?

During a head fracture, which could be caused by a fall, blow to the head or other means, the bone absorbs a great deal of the impact. When the skull receives a blow that does not penetrate the head or cause a fracture, the brain itself absorbs more of the impact. Therefore, very minor head injuries can still leave a person with extremely painful headaches that can last for years.

Headaches can occur alongside other symptoms and movement can often make the pain worse. Neck pain may further intensify the headaches. Those who have suffered from migraines and other headaches prior to a head injury may also find that the pain lasts longer and is more intense.

What About Treatments?

There are various medications that a doctor may prescribe. These may include preventative medications such as antidepressants, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. Antidepressants typically used involve sedating ones such as amitriptyline, which is also helpful if sleep has been disrupted from the headache pain. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, naproxin and acetaminophen may also be used. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed for tension-type headaches and DHE injections may be recommended.

How Can You Cope?

Even though headaches resulting from brain and skull abnormalities are essentially a physical problem, many emotional effects may occur, such as anxiety, depression and isolation. Counselling can be an option to address the stress and tension of day-to-day pain. Breathing exercises and acupuncture are also thought to help. Other treatments like biofeedback aren't usually helpful because of the memory and concentration difficulties that may accompany brain and skull injuries.

Problems coping with home and work, due to the headache pain and insomnia, can leave sufferers hopeless and struggling. Obtaining flexibility with work and also accessing a support network of family and friends may help you to cope with the emotional strain.

The good news is that most headaches occurring after a head injury slowly ease off within the first few months to year. Those who do find that headaches continue beyond that time have treatment options available. Nobody should struggle with headaches alone and hopefully, medications and alternative treatments can provide some relief.

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Latest Comments
  • Ugg
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Coop - I'm not surprised. It may take a few days. Go to the docs if you feel it's unbearable.
    15 January 2018
  • Coop
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    Played footy this morning and took football into the face and can not shift this heaface i taken asprin but not calimef it down…
    14 January 2018
  • Yoli
    Re: Headaches During The Night
    Every time my husband drinks water at night he wakes up with the headache is that normal?
    13 January 2018
  • mumof3
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Tbear & @Stevo - both of you should get yourselves seen to if you are in any way concerned. More so Tbear if you feel sick too.…
    5 January 2018
  • Stevo
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I banged my head three weeks ago resulting in having 8 stitches and my head still hurts is this normal
    2 January 2018
  • Tbear
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    About a month ago, while I was at work I fell from a 10 foot ladder. I was taken to the hospital and had a the tests and xrays…
    1 January 2018
  • Lisa
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I got punched in the face a few days ago, and now ive been getting headaches. What does this mean?
    27 December 2017
  • Moe
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    Hair does not grow properly short in some spots long in other pain in the middle of scalp scratching can't take it no more
    24 December 2017
  • Joeboy
    Re: Flicker Illness
    This is very interesting I do know of someone whom has all the symptoms mentioned it will be some comfort for her to know she is not alone and her…
    24 December 2017
  • Hurting
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    Hit my face into car door almost took my eye out now I have pain all around my eyes
    19 December 2017
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